Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Democratic Appropriators Demand Hearing on Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy

Jun 19, 2018
Press Release
Letter calls for robust oversight of Trump administration’s use of federal funds to separate families and detain children

WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee Ranking Member José E. Serrano (D-NY), Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Homeland Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) today sent a letter to their Republican counterparts demanding a hearing on the use of federal funds for the Trump administration’s family separation policy.

“As you know, the Appropriations Committee has a unique role in providing resources for the Department of Homeland Security, which detains asylum seekers, the Department of Justice, which is executing the Trump-Sessions prosecutions of asylum seekers, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which cares for the minor children who have been separated from their parents,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge you to immediately schedule a joint hearing to provide oversight on the use of federal funds for the Trump-Sessions policy of prosecuting asylum seekers and the resulting family separations, and to examine the impact on minor children who have been separated from their parents.”

“While we have been heartened that several prominent Republicans have criticized the Trump administration’s approach to family separation, it is time for action. Instead of blithely deferring to the Trump administration or issuing empty condemnations, Congress should exercise its Constitutional prerogatives and conduct rigorous oversight of this cruel policy,” the lawmakers continued. “The ongoing separation of families and subsequent detention of minor children is immoral and unacceptable. It is time for Congress to act, beginning with a hearing on these critical issues.”

Full text of the letter can be found below:

June 19, 2018

The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen

Chairman

Committee on Appropriations

 

The Honorable John Culberson

Chairman

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

 

The Honorable Tom Cole

Chairman

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

 

The Honorable Kevin Yoder

Chairman

Subcommittee on Homeland Security

Dear Chairmen Frelinghuysen, Culberson, Cole, and Yoder:

In recent days, we have witnessed heartbreaking images of children separated from their families as a result of the Trump administration’s family separation policy. These images have shocked the conscience of Americans across the political spectrum.

It is now obvious that family separation is not required by any federal law or regulation. Instead, the separation of more than 2,300 children from their families is the direct result of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all border crossers — including families who may have valid asylum claims and families who have turned themselves in voluntarily.

Further, after making statements directing asylum seekers to enter the country through ports of entry, there have been confirmed reports of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers denying entry to asylum seekers, citing a limitation on processing capacity.

While we have been heartened that several prominent Republicans have criticized the Trump administration’s approach to family separation, it is time for action. Instead of blithely deferring to the Trump administration or issuing empty condemnations, Congress should exercise its Constitutional prerogatives and conduct rigorous oversight of this cruel policy.

As you know, the Appropriations Committee has a unique role in providing resources for the Department of Homeland Security, which detains asylum seekers, the Department of Justice, which is executing the Trump-Sessions prosecutions of asylum seekers, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which cares for the minor children who have been separated from their parents.

We urge you to immediately schedule a joint hearing to provide oversight on the use of federal funds for the Trump-Sessions policy of prosecuting asylum seekers and the resulting family separations, and to examine the impact on minor children who have been separated from their parents.

The ongoing separation of families and subsequent detention of minor children is immoral and unacceptable. It is time for Congress to act, beginning with a hearing on these critical issues. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Sincerely, 

 

Nita M. Lowey

Ranking Member

Committee on Appropriations

 

José E. Serrano

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

 

Rosa DeLauro

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

 

Lucille Roybal-Allard

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Homeland Security